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Construction Contracting: A Practical Guide to Company Management, 8th Edition by Richard H. Clough, Glenn A. Sears, S. Keoki Sears, Robert O. Segner, Jerald L. Rounds

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Chapter 14Labor Relations

14.1 The Construction Worker

All construction projects have a limited duration. When a project is completed, the craft workers move on to another project, or are laid off until more work becomes available. The average construction worker often has no fixed relationship with any one contractor, and his tenure of employment with a given employer is normally indefinite and temporal. He is tightly bound to his occupation and typically is only loosely associated with any given construction company. He may work for several different employers over a period of time, and is known more as a carpenter or cement mason than as the employee of any particular firm.

Although these generalities are not true in every general contracting concern, and are much less true for workers in the specialty trades, such as electricians and plumbers, than they are for carpenters, ironworkers, and others in the basic trades, they still typify a great deal of the employment in the construction industry. The construction worker is in the unusual position of being a skilled craftsman with no permanent place of employment. This circumstance is a manifestation of the fact that the projects of a typical construction company are of relatively short-term duration, and are variable as to location, along with the fact that different projects require different combinations of trade skills at different times in the work. All contractors experience fluctuating requirements for manpower as new ...

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